A Collection of Gallantry Awards to the South Wales Borderers

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Date of Auction: 28th February 2018

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £600 - £800

A Great War ‘Western Front’ D.C.M. group of three awarded to Private D. Doyle, 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers, later Royal Welsh Fusiliers, for his gallantry in saving the life of a wounded man under enemy fire following the attack on the Rue du Bois, 9 May 1915

Distinguished Conduct Medal, G.V.R. (38025 Pte. D. Doyle. 2/Gar: Bn: R. Welsh Fus:); British War and Victory Medals (15389 Pte. D. Doyle. S. Wales. Bord.) edge bruising, good very fine (3) £600-800


D.C.M. London Gazette 14 January 1916:
‘For conspicuous gallantry, when he stood for over an hour under heavy fire at close range in a ditch holding up a badly wounded man, thereby saving him from drowning, and eventually brought him into safety.’

David Doyle attested for the South Wales Borderers and served with the 1st Battalion on the Western Front from 22 April 1915 (also entitled to a 1914-15 Star). He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his gallantry following the attack at Rue du Bois, near Neuve Chapelle, on 9 May 1915:
‘At 5:40 a.m. the assaulting battalions [Munster and Welch Regiments] went over the top, after an all too short and sadly ineffective 40 minutes’ bombardment. The German rifles, machine guns and artillery were ready to receive them. So deadly was the fire which met the advancing infantry that only very few reached the German wire to find it most inadequately cut, while the bombardment had left the parapets but little damaged. Most of the attackers were either shot down or forced to halt and seek what poor cover No Man’s Land provided.
A fresh attack was ordered, for the South Wales Borderers and the Gloucestershire Regiment to relieve the remnants of the Munsters and Welch, but when the assaulting lines sprang to their feet and started to rush across No Man’s Land they met a fire as fierce and deadly as had greeted their predecessors earlier. Well led by their officers, they pressed on, men falling at every step, and before half the distance had been covered nearly all the officers and over half the men who had crossed the parapet had been hit, while the remainder only escaped by taking what cover they could find. Realising that it would be useless to renew the attack, the guns were opened fire to allow the survivors of the assaulting battalions to withdraw to the British lines. Many got back, others had to remain out till darkness afforded cover for their return. Some gallant work was now done in rescuing wounded; Private Doyle, for example, had stood for an hour in a flooded ditch holding up a wounded man, who must otherwise have been drowned, and now succeeded in bringing him safely in.’ (
The History of the South Wales Borderers, by Captain C. T. Atkinson refers).

Doyle subsequently transferred to the 2nd Garrison Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, before transferring to Class ‘Z’ Reserve on 4 March 1919.